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  Goals made EASIER: a diagnostic tool for sustainable development 

Berrone, Pascual; Ricart, Joan Enric; Duch T-Figueras, Ana Isabel; Bernardo, Valeria; Salvador, Jordi; Piedra Peña, Juan; Rodríguez Planas, Miquel
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Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a vital way to meet social needs and make progress on the U.N.'s ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And yet, it's challenging to figure out how much each PPP project contributes to these goals and which should be prioritized in the pursuit of meaningful economic, social and environment progress.

To this end, a team led by IESE's Pascual Berrone and Joan Enric Ricart has designed a simple evaluation tool for PPP projects. They call their model EASIER, a mnemonic device for six dimensions relevant for sustainable development:

Engagement of stakeholders.
Does the project count on the participation of all relevant stakeholders (e.g., suppliers, local community groups, unions, ecologists)? Involving stakeholders, particularly at the outset of a project, can be a decisive factor in its success. This implies not just making information public, but actively seeking stakeholder input through surveys, public hearings or web forums, and then incorporating their values and preferences in subsequent decision-making.

Access. Does the project increase access to services in the interest of diverse populations?
The more people who can benefit, the greater the impact on well-being, social justice and equality.

Scalability and replicability.
Can the project be enlarged or expanded to meet growing demand, without significant social or environmental costs? How transferrable are the results to other geographies? Capacity building is key: offering training and education, and then transmitting the know-how and lessons learned to other stakeholders.

Inclusiveness. "No one left behind." Is the growth and development equitable and inclusive, starting from the design to the building to the operation of the project? Can it be accessed by all individuals, especially the most vulnerable? Does it promote women's empowerment?

Economic impact. In measuring the project's economic impact, it's not just how much money was saved. Rather, it's how many local jobs were created -- decent jobs, with long-term employment prospects and the potential to reduce inequalities. Is there technological upgrading and technological transfer, fostering research and innovation, and helping left-behind areas to catch up? Does the project promote more sustainable, ecological patterns of consumption and production?

Resilience and environment.
How well does the project meet the needs of the present without compromising future generations? Is there capacity in the system to respond to and recover quickly from disaster? Does it seek to preserve the natural environment and take action to combat climate change?

The EASIER model offers a simple yet holistic diagnostic tool to assess projects, particularly during their design phase. It's timely and relevant, as the United Nations is studying how people-first PPPs can be used as powerful tools to achieve the targets and goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Although fulfillment of the goals may seem challenging, by paying attention to the six dimensions above, the job should be a whole lot easier.

The co-authors acknowledge the financial support of the Agencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI) of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities -- ECO2016-79894-R (MCIU/AEI/FEDER, UE), the Specialist Center on PPP in Smart & Sustainable Cities from IESE Business School, the Schneider-Electric Sustainability and Business Strategy Chair, the Carl Schroeder Chair in Strategic Management and the IESE High Impact initiative (2017/2018).

A version of this article is to be published in IESE Business School Insight #154.
This article is based on:  EASIER: An Evaluation Model for Public-Private Partnerships Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals
Publisher:  MDPI AG
Year:  2019
Language:  English